May 15 – Singles Mixer & Dating Show
May 24 – Speed Dating from Home
May 25 – Quarantine Book Club
May 15 – Singles Mixer & Dating Show
May 24 – Speed Dating from Home
May 25 – Quarantine Book Club
Today is #BellLetsTalk day, so I’ll explain how the first time I took myself solo dating totally changed my well being.
“Table for one, please.”
After surviving a particularly awful breakup, I was looking for moments to feel happy again. So I chose one of my favourite restaurants – a Greek spot called Spiro’s in Lloydminster, Saskatchewan. I put on a fancy dress, did up my hair and makeup, and went out for the evening to dine alone.
This solo dinner wasn’t the first time I had done something on my own. For example, I drove a moving truck over seven hundred of kilometers for a job opportunity at 18 years old. But taking myself on a date was different. It took place long before ‘solo dating’ and ‘self-partnered’ became buzzwords. At the time, a solo date wasn’t your run-of-the-mill singles activity.
When I arrived at the restaurant, I sat in my car contemplating the choice to walk through the front doors. Somehow I made it through the doors and I felt anxious waiting for my table. I immersed myself in the menu. Then, I went about my night quietly enjoying the delicious meal – a plate of Spiro’s famous Greek ribs. My anxiety decreased and I relaxed while observing other diners chatting with their friends and family.
I don’t remember having a smartphone to drown out my own thoughts or to fill the silence that was coming from the other side of the table. I can’t remember what else I’d planned for myself that evening after dinner, either. But I remember the moment I decided to take myself on a date very clearly. It was an internal transformation. I decided to stop waiting for people to show up for me and started showing up for myself. The self-esteem boost transferred into other areas of my life.
Later that same year, I took a solo trip outside of Canada with a group travel company. It was the first of many annual single travel adventures.
I find it much easier to meet new people when I’m alone. There’s a connectivity that develops when you meet other people who are also riding solo. When I’m with someone, establishing a connection to others isn’t always easy.
Solo dating helped me set new expectations for future suitors and gave me the confidence to love myself first. Learning how to master a healthy relationship with me trickled through to other relationships.
The capacity to love my alone time has affected my mental health throughout my life. It’s become a sacred part of who I am. Now, I’m more likely to choose things I want to do rather than waiting for someone else who may or may not join me. As an extrovert, being alone gives me an opportunity to interact with others which is key to filling up my energy.
Treating yourself to solo dating is a positive experience, not a lonesome one. Even if you have a spouse, spending time out of the house alone could change your well being, too.
So where are you going to go on your date for one in Saskatoon? Here are a few ideas:
Do you have other ideas for solo dating in Saskatoon?
Please support #BellLetsTalk day to end the stigma surrounding mental health.
“I love meeting new people. So, I wanted to meet people and make some friends and go from there. Obviously, having a girlfriend out of it was an absolute cherry on top of the cake. “
This week, I spoke with a pair who matched at Saskatoon Speed Dating. Anthony* and Sophie* have been in a supportive, long-term relationship since connecting at their Do Sask event in January 2019. I asked them if they would share their experience and they graciously agreed. I chatted with each of them individually and encouraged honest responses.
Read on if you’re curious to learn how this couple developed from an initial 4-minute speed dating conversation.
Anthony: “I didn’t really have any feelings about it at all. I’d seen speed dating in a few movies and things. I didn’t know that Saskatoon had such a thing.
When I heard about it, I thought, “What the heck!” I would give it a try. I was in the mountains on a snowboard trip scrolling on Facebook. Something popped up and it was Do Sask, so I read into it. I saw speed dating and read about it and went from there.”
Sophie: “To be honest, going into it I didn’t have any expectations. One of my friends worked at the Crazy Cactus. She and I were both part of a group of friends who were mostly coupled up since high school or a few years after. When she heard Do Sask Speed Dating was scheduled at the Crazy Cactus, she began a campaign to get me to join her. I wasn’t gung-ho in the very beginning. But I thought why not to see what would happen. I didn’t expect that it would be the way I met my future partner.”
Anthony: “I was going in to have a new experience and try something new. I didn’t necessarily want a relationship out of it, but I wanted to try something out of my comfort zone. I love meeting new people. So, I wanted to make some friends and go from there. Obviously, having a girlfriend out of it was an absolute cherry on top of the cake.”
A: “The night of I was running late. I rolled up a minute or two to 7 pm. I figured I was going to be a couple minutes late. I just remember thinking to myself “here we go”. There were some butterflies. I remember seeing all the people there. Once I registered, I knew I had a drink ticket and went to grab one. I started chatting with some of the guys there and my butterflies went away.”
S: “I told my friend I really needed a drink. I had no idea what I was walking into. There were a lot more people there than I thought there would be.
I liked the icebreaker game which introduced me to everyone who was there that night. We played people bingo and got to know other people. It was kind of nice to have a little conversation with everyone before the dating started.“
A: “We had an introductory bingo game. There was a bingo card and we were asked to find people that matched the description and write their name on the squares. There were no nerves, it was just excitement at that point.
Once the game started, I remember thinking, “Okay, you’re supposed to mingle”. A few of the girls had huddled up together asking questions and some of the guys were asking questions to each other. My initial thought was, “I’m here to go on dates, so I’m going to talk to the girls”.
I remember seeing Sophie walk in at the beginning of the night. With the game on, I went right over to her. She was happy and had this beautiful smile. I remembered her immediately. Once the dates started, I was looking forward to having that 4-minute date with her.
S: “As soon as you said go for the ice breaker game, Anthony was the first person who came up and talked to me. I kind of liked being approached first. He was nice to talk to. He said it was nice meeting you and I’ll talk to you soon.”
A: “During our date, we were talking about football. She was very open and didn’t seem shy. She plays fantasy football and I like football. My go-to question for that night was, “here’s a plane ticket you can go anywhere you want, where are you going?” And I had a lot of good conversations from that. Sophie was very easy to talk to. The 4 minutes flew by. We chatted through the intermission.”
S: “When it came time for Anthony’s 4-minute date to end, he asked, “Do you want to keep talking?” Intermission had started, so we decided to chat right through the short break. We talked about fantasy football. And we’re both big travellers, so we discussed all the places we’ve been and wanted to go. That probably took up most of the conversation.”
S: “On our first date, we met at D’Lish by Tish Cafe and got a drink. We took it to go and walked along the river. We walked to Rotary Park, by River Landing, and up the Broadway Bridge. It was the end of January, so the night turned cold. We went to the Yard and Flagon to warm up a bit. Anthony walked me back to my car at D’Lish before we said goodnight.”
A: “We met up at a coffee shop about a week later, grabbed a cup of joe, and went for a stroll by the river. Tried to get to know each other. There was a wind – it was winter – so we just kept moving. I walked her back to her car gave her a kiss goodnight.”
S: “I’ve never really had a serious relationship and it’s really nice having someone to share a life with. Anthony adds to my life.”
A: “I’ve had a girlfriend since then, so it’s been a change for the better. It was a pretty good bonus. I’m happy and the months have flown by since meeting her. It’s a great relationship. We support each other. It’s very easy to get along.”
A: “Yeah, it is enough to make a decision about someone. Pretty quickly you get a vibe if you want to chat with that person any further. Whether it’s friendly or more. You’ll know if want to talk with them again.”
A: “It was a win for me because I gained a girlfriend out of it. For me it was going to be a success because I went. I didn’t back out! I booked it back from the mountains. And the next day I thought I was going to cancel. The act of trying something different that not everyone would do made it a success. It put me out of my comfort zone. Not everyone would do this. It’s different way to go about meeting people.”
S: “I’d never been to speed dating before. I’d even mark it as successful if I hadn’t found someone because I’d have made some new connections.”
S: “I was visiting a friend in Calgary. She took my phone and made a Tinder account. I didn’t want to activate it in Saskatoon because I found it very superficial. But I did go on some dates from the app. I saw one guy for a couple months and it didn’t work out with him long-term.”
A: “Nothing against the dating apps. They have their good and bad. I think they’re fine. I’ve had dates from those too. They’re just another page in the dating book.
Nowadays there’s Tinder, bumble, POF, and speed dating is just another way. For me, you meet people face-to-face and have a good chat. You get to know a lot about a person by chatting. ”
S: “The most frustrating thing is meeting new people. I have a great group of friends, but there aren’t too many new people coming into the group.
Lots of my friends have been dating since around high school or shortly afterwards. They met through mutual friends in high school. A couple years after high school they would come around. That’s how most of the relationships happened.”
A: “For me, dating was just getting to meet new people and hopefully something goes well from there. Nothing seemed to work out for a bit there. But that’s just me and the other person weren’t meant to be. I probably wouldn’t have met Sophie if I didn’t go to speed dating.
I have a certain group of friends from high school. There was a bit of a disconnect. They were with someone since high school. I could never relate to that. I have other friends through hockey. I always seem to meet new people here and there.”
A: Yeah, absolutely. I would recommend speed dating to others. If someone asked me, I would tell ’em it’s a lot of fun and it turned out better than I would have expected.
*Names have been changed to protect the couple’s privacy. Testimonials have been lightly edited for clarity.
Speed dating match testimonials are honest and genuine. However, they don’t guarantee similar match results.
There are 365 nights in a year, so why is Valentine’s Day the absolute worst date night of them all? Before I get into my reasons, I’ll start with a story.
One of my favourite Valentine’s Day memories was when this guy I met asked me to be his Valentine. Ignoring the fact that this was a totally cheesy move – I was legitimately excited. We had met a few weeks earlier and hit it off quickly which had taken me by surprise. Up until that day, I had never been asked to be someone’s Valentine before, so I didn’t know how to react or what to expect.
As it turned out, the guy cooked me jambalaya and pralines. He realized as I arrived that he needed to go on a mad rush to buy a corkscrew for a bottle of wine. When he got back, he served our dinner on a pop-up Rubbermaid table that he bought especially for that date. Later on, we went for a blisteringly cold walk under the stars.
If I had imagined what modern society promotes as the perfect Valentine’s Date Night, I probably would’ve been disappointed. But because I had no expectations and was open to trying something new, I was pleasantly surprised.
That guy is now my husband.
Before this happy memory, I’d been alone on many a Valentine’s Day. While I made an effort to bake cookies and give cute cards to my friends and colleagues, I often felt lonely and sad on February 14th.
The gift-driven holiday is designed to make people believe that most people in the world are in love, so that you can look forward to expressing your love with the “perfect” gift for your future soulmate. But these gifts are just superficial tokens with inflated price tags.
The reality is that it’s closer in size to a metropolis. A large portion of the world is now living independently. According to 2016 Canadian census data published in the Globe and Mail, “the number of one-person households… surpassed all other types of living situations“. If you’re single and living in your own place, you definitely aren’t alone.
Love can be dirty and downright confusing. The Hallmark kind is just fine sometimes, but it doesn’t capture the actual feelings you have for someone. Love – true love – isn’t about the amount you spend on a date. It’s so much more than a box of candies, or a swanky dinner over candlelight. It can’t be contained in a heart-shaped box, or within the limits of a bank account.
The more intimate love, the kind that wakes up at night to check on you when you’re sick, the kind that encourages you to speak when every part of you wants to remain quiet, the kind that makes you laugh until you cry… is the kind of love that can only creep into your day when you least expect it. And odds are good (about 364 : 1) that day won’t be Valentine’s Day.
Here’s the thing: traditions start as brand new ideas. You and I get to decide whether or not they’re worth doing again.
I mean, we go on regular date nights the rest of the year. We purchase gifts for each other just because. Should we wait around for one day to pay a premium for things we do all. the. time? (Here’s a hint: date nights make great everyday acts of love with lower price tags and expectations!)
If singles feel isolation like I did on Valentine’s Day, and couples just want to check off a box to satisfy their relational duties – then what is the actual point of keeping Valentine’s Day around for another year?
What if more of us let go of the idea of a perfect Valentine’s Day and welcomed messy memories? That’s what I want this tradition to symbolize for you this February 14th.
I’m lucky to have experienced many autumn things in Saskatoon to build this definitive guide to fall date ideas in the city.
So far, I’ve played puzzles blindfolded with horses, transformed into a human soccer ball and got attacked by children, picked a pumpkin from the local patch, and went indoor mini golfing. But there are still plenty of things I haven’t done that made their way into this post.
Treat your date to a plate of gourmet donuts, plan a cozy bonfire picnic in the park, tailgate at a local football game, or courageously tackle a high ropes course. There is a world of fall fun listed below.
Set a reasonable spending limit and go on a shopping spree at the Saskatoon Farmers’ Market – just in time for a harvest feast.
After trying to fend off children (and my date) for close to 10 minutes, I was out of breath and sweating through my clothes. Plan to spend about 30 minutes total at the park – believe me, it’s more than enough time!
Choose a topic you both love and browse for the best reads at McNally Robinson Booksellers.
Put your communication skills to the test with a rescue horse at the helm at Lift Farm EAL. On date nights at Lift, you’ll work through different obstacles to see if you can complete them together.
Pack your warmest toque, stadium cushion, and cooler and head for the Huskies game.
Pick your favourite pumpkin to decorate and carve together from the folks at Black Fox Farm.
Hike along the Meewasin Valley at Beaver Creek followed by a bonfire picnic at a local park.
Slow clap your way into their heart with a round of indoor mini golf at Market Mall on a rainy autumn day.
Drive the country back roads and plan your own photo scavenger hunt to capture the adventure. (Stuck on ideas? Try What to Order at Saskatchewan’s Favourite Hidden Gem Bakeries or How to spend 48 hours in Moose Jaw Saskatchewan.)
Give your date a classic autumn experience with a day of apple picking at Petrofka Orchard. (Closes for the season on October 15th.)
As a regular speed dating host, I get asked this question a lot:
“Why did you start a speed dating business?”
My answer will now be: read this post. I’ve made a list below of some of the reasons that impacted my decision to start offering this service for Saskatoon singles.
I know that it’s hard to meet people when you’re busy with work, school, business, and LIFE. If you don’t make time for meeting new people you’ll stay in that endless rut.
You know what they say about your first time… I tried speed dating years ago and hated it. Every man asked me, “So, what do you do for a living?” It felt like a bad job interview that that I couldn’t escape.
I thought I could make some improvements and started testing out my format. So far, attendees like it a lot (5 star reviews).
As awful as my first experience was, when I took part in speed dating I learned what it was like to say “no” to many people who may not have been right for me. Up until then, I gave people chances when they didn’t really deserve them. The process of speed dating was enough to give me autonomy in my day-to-day relationships. I want to pass that on to others.
Read more about the code of conduct to learn what is and isn’t okay in this community.
From what I found in market research, speed dating just wasn’t a regular thing in Saskatoon or Saskatchewan. This may be related to the size of the population, or the ideas and attitudes around dating on the prairies. People come from all over the province to take part and get offline for a night.
They give me lots of energy (and endless anecdotes). I’ve already met a lot of interesting people and hope to meet more.
Sometimes people are slow to trust and don’t make outsiders feel very welcome. They usually have a group of friends they’ve known since kindergarten and they have no idea what it feels like to be “new to town”. This makes it difficult for newcomers to establish solid relationships (both friendships and otherwise).
I am striving to create an inclusive space with Do Sask. Old friends are good. But have you tried meeting new ones? It’s THRILLING.
No matter what there are always gonna be people looking for friendship, dates, and new ideas. Do Sask removes the question of whether they are open to that or not to save you a lot of time wondering.
People who attend speed dating are ready to give it a shot. I want to offer a service that’s different from my day job as a writer for businesses, but isn’t a complete 360.
I like a good sky-high goal that I have no control over. I thought speed dating could be a catalyst for friendships and date matches to blossom here in Saskatchewan. Since Do Sask launched speed dating last year, past attendees are already telling me it’s working. (We currently have a 80% match rate!)
If you attended Do Sask speed dating in the past, please share your honest recommendation with your friends. Word of mouth is very important to growing this community!
Not a lot of businesses would give a solopreneur full reign of half their pub and invite them to come back regularly. But the Hose & Hydrant Brew Pub did last year! And then Finn’s Irish Pub did this year! Both spots are worth checking out for a casual night with your new date.
An earlier version of this post was originally published on Facebook in August, 2017.
Saskatoon summer speed dating will keep you busy all season long if you’re single and ready to meet new people near you. Check out the full schedule below to save the date for six upcoming events in July, August, and September at Finn’s Irish Pub.
Saskatoon in the summer provides a beautiful backdrop to get to know new people. Whether you’re walking around the riverbank, tanning on a beach, enjoying some local ice cream, or checking out one of the local breweries – it’s a great time to level up your dating game.
Get ready for Saskatoon summer speed dating at Finn’s Irish Pub in the Park Town Hotel. You’ll check into the event inside the pub before the private event takes place in the Park Town Hotel banquet hall. Click on one of the dates below to register.
Confirmed 25 to 36 dates:
Confirmed 34 to 45 dates:
Your ticket includes date matching services and a complementary welcome drink on me. There is no other provider in Saskatoon that offers this value.
Do Sask runs events with a minimum 7 men and 7 women registered in advance. That means you’re guaranteed at least 7 ‘dates’, or you’ll get your money back.
Where: Finn’s Irish Pub in the Park Town Hotel
When: Tuesdays 7:00 – 9:00 p.m
What: 120 mins of fun & fast dating
Cost: $35 includes all taxes, fees, and a welcome drink
Finn’s Irish Pub generously invited Saskatoon Speed Dating to take over their space for the summer to give you a shot at love. Follow Finn’s Irish Pub on Facebook for other unique events in Saskatoon.
Saskatchewan isn’t necessarily known as the world’s most progressive place. With our biggest exports being grain and potash, the common stereotype is that we’re akin to America’s deep south – conservative, closed-minded farmers. And it doesn’t help that a once-frustrated hometown star, Joni Mitchell, labelled the entire community of Saskatoon as bigoted.
That’s why it’s impressive that we have a few dedicated spaces for the LGBTQ community. While there is no “gay district”, we’ve got gay-friendly locales that you can spread out to across the province.
Since Pride Month is in full swing, I thought I’d take some time to raise awareness for the gay nightclubs and bars in Saskatchewan that you can take advantage of all year. Because homosexuality should be accepted as a norm in society and we’ve still got a long way to go.
Enjoy a cocktail and meet up with other like-minded peeps. Between Regina and Saskatoon, there are three major nightclubs that serve gay clientele:
Opening nearly 40 years ago, Diva’s is a historic establishment that boasts itself as “Saskatoon’s Premier Gay Bar”. Come in through the back alley on an average weekend for laser lights, live DJs, and dancing. Save the date for special events like regular Ru Paul’s Drag Race viewing parties, drag queen contests, and eye-popping live entertainment.
With a multi-level interior design that changes almost as quickly as a chameleon, PiNK’s operators like to keep patrons on their toes. The last time I went, they had a giant raised pole in the middle of the dance floor – who knows what they’ll have next month! Plenty of inclusive events happen here regularly.
As one of the last community-owned gay bars in Canada, Q is a hub for Regina’s LGBTQ crowd. Feel connected and welcomed at weekly open mics, drag queen bingo, karaoke, trivia, and more! Q also hosts special events complete with go-go dancers.
The following Saskatoon* spots work with the LGBTQ community to create a gay-friendly space and regular themed events:
Guitar shop by day, inspiring event space by night. This one-of-a-kind venue is not a regular bar, but hosts many live music shows, weddings, fundraisers, and more throughout the year.
Capitol is a downtown spot with a full-menu and massive interior space for dancing, live music, and comedy nights. For something different, go during the afternoon to enjoy the hanging indoor plants and skylight.
They have signs placed all around the bar explaining what to avoid talking about while inside, including politics and religion.
One of Saskatoon’s biggest community-centred hubs, Amigos Cantina is a place where you’ll enjoy a wide variety of Mexican cuisine and pub classics. They host live musicians, improv comedy, karaoke, and themed dances – sometimes on the same night. Enjoy a cold cocktail on their patio after a long day.
Louis’ is a casual student hang-out that partners with the USSU Pride Centre to host LGBTQ events. Along with pub fare, you can find many different reasons to check out Louis’ for live shows and sporting events.
Whether you’re dropping in for a late brunch, or want spectacular twilight view of the riverbank, the whimsical Drift Sidewalk Cafe & Vista Lounge has some incredible options for you. Both their space and menu is dynamic, with seasonal eats, local craft beer, and cocktails that hit the spot.
Located on the corner of Spadina and 25th Street, Finn’s Irish Pub is a nice place to stop in for a cold brew while walking along the riverbank with your honey. They offer regular free live music, paint nites, and special holiday events. Check out their large patio in the summer time.
*At publishing, I couldn’t easily track down gay-friendly nightclubs or bars in other Saskatchewan cities. If you want to be included on this listing, please send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last month, Do Sask followers were asked to post their single most frustrating thing about dating in 2018. While compiling the responses, it became obvious that the most frustrating thing about dating is online dating. This post features all comments organized by recurring themes.
The term ‘online dating’ has become ubiquitous within the dating scene in general. According to an eharmony report, 36% of single Canadians have an online dating profile to increase their odds of finding a romantic relationship in person.
And according to you… online dating is kinda annoying.
These are the biggest pains you’re currently facing in the dating scene. Keep in mind that Do Sask’s sample audience size is limited, so there may be other factors that have been left out.
“Trying to meet people outside of your immediate circle of friends and having a genuine conversation with them.”
“When you are the only single person you know in your age bracket. And none of your friends know any singles so you are always the odd one out. And vacation prices are always based on double occupancy.”
“There are very few ways of meeting people outside of dating apps and most of my single friends are gay.”
“So many people are in relationships but try to hook up with someone by putting a fake profile online. They talk to you then tell you “[oh] btw I’m married so we have to keep this on the DL”. How frustrating!”
“The lies, oh god the lies!! “5’8” (as I tower over him), “athletic build” (video game couch potato build). It’s like, just be honest people.”
“How fake people can be over the internet.”
“The inappropriate pictures some men send, without warning ⚠, on dating apps!”
“People wanting to “date” for the sole purpose of having sex.”
“Dating apps suck for meeting up with real people and always having to have the hookup convo.”
“Finding someone that is serious about relationships and not asking if I’m DTF or if I’m interested in sleeping with younger men.”
“Meeting someone who is truly looking for a relationship.”
“I find is a lot of people want instant gratification. You’re talking to someone and showing interest and if you don’t immediately want to be their girlfriend they move on.”
“From a male perspective…. the high expectations and constant rejection. Very frustrating.”
“The “way” to meet people but none of them fully tell the truth online…..then you “waste” time talking to them…then meet them…..then never see them again…..”
“The choice paralysis of online dating. It affects both sexes, and can manifest different ways, but it’s all frustrating in the end. Everything could be going so well but then they ghost, or bench you for another option… Other times you find yourself hyper-analyzing a potential partner, wondering how many red flags are too many? Are you just being overly critical? Are you settling? Or do you actually deserve better?”
“When you are excited about someone and then they ghost you. When you didn’t see it coming and are left wondering what happened. It makes it difficult to continue to open up when there is a new connection.”
“Finding people who say that they are interested then they tell you something all together different months down the road.”
“Dating sucks in your 30’s. It is scary and unnerving!! I hate meeting people online so I just don’t bother.”
“How the internet accelerated the process. Most of you can remember the not-so-distant past when relationships formed authentically. Memories are made when things aren’t rushed and I miss that.”
“It’s hard to narrow it down to one thing!! I know online dating is super popular but I really miss a good ol’ fashioned date with someone you met the old fashioned way! But I feel disconnected when I’m not on dating sites! It’s hard to meet someone that you don’t work with!! Oh the joys of dating in 2018.”
“I’d say the social dynamic of texting and messenger is annoying. I wouldn’t even mind talking on the phone these days but everybody is scared to have phone conversations.”
“The most frustrating thing about dating in 2018 is not being able to see facial expressions when online dating.”
Thanks to all the Saskatoon singles who took the time to leave their comments for this post!
Saskatoon speed dating saves you from the online dating experience by putting you in front of at least 7 singles in one night. On average, 80% of attendees find a friend or more. Register for the next event in Saskatoon! Please check the Do Sask Eventbrite page for upcoming dates and details.
Contact Do Sask, or reach out on Facebook to let our community know about your speed dating blunders.